World Beaters: Community comes together for Maine-Endwell champions

ENDWELL, N.Y. - NewsChannel 34 looks back  at the journey of the Maine-Endwell Little League World Series Champions, as their story will be showcased in a documentary airing this weekend on ABC.

Both during and after the tournament, our community showed its support for the M-E team by banding together.

NewsChannel 34's Mike Tanzini takes shows us how businesses and the community came up to bat for the boys here at home.

The Maine-Endwell Little League team represented our nation and brought it all home from Williamsport.

And every step of the way, our community was behind them.

"It takes a village to raise these kids. From the current coaches to the past coaches, to the board members and the families that are sacrificing so much to enable these kids to live out their dreams, it's really an amazing experience for them," said M-E Little League President Mitch Gorton.

When the early games were televised on national tv, local bars began showing them and people were coming to watch the boys with with a beer in their hand and a friend by their side.

"It's incredible. There is a lot of support from this community. People have been coming out to watch the games. It's astonishing to see how people are reacting to it," said Galley Manager Jeremy Dzuba.

"It's not about one district or one community or one group of kids. It's about a community. It's exciting. In Binghamton we get excited about things like this and we really around our own," said Food and Fire Owner Dan Polhamus.

Local sponsors helped transform the community's viewing experience from a living room or bar TV to a massive inflatable screen at a viewing party at Maine-Endwell High School.

"We had as many people as we can get down to Williamsport. We had a great turnout down there. But, when the games are during the week, it's tough for all of us to get down there, we have jobs and what not, but they still want to show their support," said M-E high school principal Tom Burkhardt.

Then, Dick's Sporting Goods stepped up and hosted a pep rally and rented coach buses for fans and family members to head down to Williamsport.

But, they also needed gear.

Zappia Athletic Products began selling Maine-Endwell t-shirts with proceeds benefiting the league.

"There's been a lot of teams in the area that have had great success. For a team to make it this far, especially considering they're young kids, that's a real big thrill and it's exciting. To be a part of that in any way is big for us," said Owner Daniel Cordi.

Most of the family members traveled to the games while making it work with their day-to-day responsibilities, but in the end it was all worth it.

"Part of my summer has been taken over by baseball but for my brother, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him.  He's having a great experience and is creating some great memories," said Christian Abbadessa.

"It's unbelievable how proud I am of him and what he's accomplished. I cried the last game, my wife and I. It's unreal. It gives me chills every time I think of it," said Vince Abbadessa.

It can be as simple as a painted face or a shout out on a sign, but everyone from our area came together to support and eventually celebrate a worldwide victory earned by a world class group of young men.

On Thursday, we conclude our series by showing you how celebrities, and even President Obama, reached out to cheer on and congratulate the team.

ESPN Films Presents: World Beaters will air on Sunday at noon on WIVT NewsChannel 34.


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